National Evaluation of the Comprehensive Technical Assistance Centersby Brenda Turnbull, Richard White, Elizabeth Sinclair, Derek Riley
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This first of two reports presents early findings from the National Evaluation of the Comprehensive Technical Assistance Centers (Comprehensive Centers), a federally funded program that provides technical assistance to states in connection with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. The law authorizing the Comprehensive Centers, the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002, mandated that a national evaluation of the program be conducted by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The legislation indicated that the evaluation should ―include an analysis of the services provided…[and] the extent to which each of the comprehensive centers meets the objectives of its respective plan, and whether such services meet the educational needs of State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and schools in the region.‖ The program evaluation is conducted by Branch Associates, Inc., Decision Information Resources, Inc., and Policy Studies Associates, Inc.
This report addresses the first of the evaluation‘s three rounds of data collection, pertaining to the Centers‘ work of July 2006 through June 2007. It describes the program design and, drawing upon data provided by the Centers and their clients, program operations. It also describes assessments of Center activities and resources, reporting on quality as judged by panels of subject-matter experts, and on relevance, usefulness, and contributions to capacity as judged by practitioners (namely, state-level managers and also clients who participated directly in Center activities or received Center products). A final report will provide parallel findings for 2007-08 and 2008-09. In addition, it will present findings from case studies of capacity building at the state level and any changes in findings over time.
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